My father was fond of telling a particular shaggy dog joke on the theme of how to cook a carp. A carp, as you might know, is a bottom-feeding, oily, freshwater fish. Not exactly considered something you’d normally eat. So, the story goes something to the effect that you place the carp on a freshly cut piece of cherry wood, and commence to pound a series of oils and spices, and garlic, and wine, etc into the fish. Since it’s a shaggy dog joke, you continue on and on with all sorts of wonderful things. Then, you throw away the fish, and eat the board.
That, for me, exemplifies business and marketing plans. It isn’t about the fish (or the meat of the plan), but the process that matters. And in going through that process, you think through things that you might not have thought about.
I recently received a review copy of Allan Dib’s new book, The 1-Page Marketing Plan (and I think the journey the book took from Sweden to Colombia, and took almost two months! It’s a bit of a miracle it arrived at all!) First off, I’ll tell you, I like the book. Dib’s writing goes down smooth, and is not stuffed with too much extra verbiage. He covers a lot of topics important to the nascent entrepreneur: customer “phases;” lead capturing and nurturing; and messaging. Ultimately, his template for the eponymous one-page-plan is elegant and simple.
Dib also covers the messaging itself. He counsel’s his readers to get into the mind of the customer. Yes, yes, yes! He introduces 80/20, and lifetime value. These are important concepts that are not often introduced soon enough to entrepreneurs. Indeed, I’d recommend this book to the newcomer to marketing plans.
For me, the largest gap is in the absence of addressing goals and objectives. But that’s my personal bias; I was introduced to strategic planning from that vantage point. For me, there is a natural logic in thinking about where you are, and where you want to be. From there, it’s a matter of figuring out how to make it happen. But perhaps, there really are other ways of attaining success. After all, it’s not about the carp.